R+R in Llanberis – Bera Mawr and Bera Bach

Ok, I should have been in Scotland this weekend but life has a way of screwing stuff up and I find myself in Llanberis instead. There’s worse places I could be right now and the sun is shining!

I can’t recall a day I’ve been in Wales in the last few years when I’ve had such glorious sunshine as today.

I’ll be honest, I chose this walk on the assumption that it would be away from the Easter crowds that will descend on Snowdon and the Glyders. However, I hadn’t realised quite how stunning and thus popular the Aber Falls would be. Having also had a near miss on the A55 (my fault – sorry to the car in front who must have winced) I thought I should perhaps stay away from anything too rocky, since I was clearly feeling a bit distracted.

33 afon falls
Continue reading “R+R in Llanberis – Bera Mawr and Bera Bach”

Cycling Huddersfield Canal and the Calder Valley Greenway – and back!

I must start by saying, my beloved bike might be the second oldest possession I have, but it hasn’t really been out for the last 15 years (if you don’t count cycling at Kielder 3 years ago). But, this weekend I decided to make friends with my bike and headed off, with Dewsbury as my goal.

Ok, Dewsbury is not a glamorous destination I’ll admit. But I knew that from the Colne Valley to the west of Huddersfield, it was possible to cycle there via the canal towpaths and the Calder Valley Greenway and so should keep me away from two barriers to me cycling – traffic and hills. And should you decide to follow this route too and perhaps doubt how far you might get – fear not. You are also following the train line so you can always catch it back, which was my initial plan (and which I wished I’d taken as I got within 1 mile of home and my legs started to seize up).

Continue reading “Cycling Huddersfield Canal and the Calder Valley Greenway – and back!”

The Ridgeway and Avebury Stone Circles

Making the most of the gorgeous sunshine on Saturday we headed off to Barbury Castle for a circular walk along the Ridgeway National Trail.

I’ll have to admit that, as a northern lass who lives within spitting distance of the Peak District and the Pennine Way, the Ridgeway wasn’t exactly awe inspiring. But, having woken that morning in the busy and built up Reading, it was certainly lovely to escape to the countryside. Even if you could see Swindon and the M4 from the top of the hill. (And yes, I concede it was a hill, even by northern standards I was going to let Barbury Castle be on a hill).

We had a quick potter around the castle, which is really an Iron Age hillfort, before heading off eastwards along the Ridgeway.

DSCF5765
Continue reading “The Ridgeway and Avebury Stone Circles”

Conquering Kilimanjaro from the North

DSCF5382

Kilimanjaro has been on my bucket list for a very long time, but I never expected that somewhere between climbing Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro I would have a life transforming experience that over the six day trek would change my outlook on life forever.

I really wanted to see Kilimanjaro at its least crowded. Given thousands of people climb it every year this was unlikely to happen, but the Rongai route seemed like the sensible choice as it comes from the North and avoids the main route of Marangu on the way up, which is used by large groups climbing the mountain for charity. All routes use this path to descend so that everyone gets to the national park gate. So on the way down I had chance to walk the incredibly busy route making us glad for my route choice.

Day 1 heading up to Simba camp, day 2 to Kikelewa Cave, day 3 to Mawenzi tarn hut and day 4 to Kibo before heading for the summit. This route allows for 2 days descent down the Marangu path to the main gate.

Continue reading “Conquering Kilimanjaro from the North”

Mount Meru, the quieter Tanzanian peak

Heading off to climb two African mountains felt like a huge challenge, though mostly of the mind, as I felt confident that (minus potential altitude issues) I could cope with the physical challenge.

Mount Meru is the 5th highest mountain range in Africa, but was every bit just as challenging as Kilimanjaro which I would climb later.  The walk takes 4 days to complete and as it is in the Arusha National Park all groups also require a park ranger (complete with rifle) as well as a guide and the team of porters.

I would definitely recommend this mountain to anyone who truly loves walking and is keen to do more than just Kilimanjaro. The walk is not difficult but the final night’s ascent is scrambly and much more technically challenging that what you will encounter on Kilimanjaro. So thankfully its not at the same altitude!

Continue reading “Mount Meru, the quieter Tanzanian peak”

Why do one peak when you can climb two?

Back in March when I booked the trip of a lifetime to climb Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro it was on the basis that I couldn’t see the point of flying all the way to Tanzania and spending all that money, and only climbing one mountain. After all squillions of people have climbed Kilimanjaro (ok probably not that many but millions I bet), and its not hard to find lots of blog about people’s trips. So why not push myself a bit further and climb neighbouring Meru too?

Continue reading “Why do one peak when you can climb two?”

A short walk from Summit up to the Rain stone

Having found myself with only a couple of hours to really enjoy the fantastic September sunshine I managed to squeeze in a walk. It wasn’t an epic romp but it doesn’t always need to be to make me smile.

Having already seen 4 of the 6 Stanza Stones scattered around the South Pennines, I decided to head up to the Rain stone today.

The Stanza Stones were completed in 2012 and are 6 poems by Simon Armitage which have been carved on stones, each dotted about the uplands of the South Pennine landscape. There is a great trail guide you can download on this website – here – but frankly the walks are far to short for my liking so in the past I have turned them into longer circular walks.

Continue reading “A short walk from Summit up to the Rain stone”

Asturias – Cares Gorge walk

After an amazing couple of days in Somiedo National Park we jumped on the early bus back to Oviedo to catch another two to eventually arrive in Arenas de Cabrales for two days of walking in the Picos de Europa mountains.

The tiny tourist info centre in Arenas provides free maps but they aren’t great. Green (easy) routes are easy to navigate as well waymarked but we did have an afternoon mishap trying to navigate a blue (medium) route back to Arenas as the path disappeared and we had to scale a wall and under a fence to get on a track. Serves us right for walking into Poo de Cabrales just for a photo of the road sign (immature i know!)

So the following day we went for a proper hike.

Ruta de Cares – 12km one way

229 cares gorge

Continue reading “Asturias – Cares Gorge walk”